Favorite things

Memories of gifts gone by

What has been your most memorable Christmas gift? The answer usually arrives as fast as a shooting star. It could be something from last year or many years ago. Something asked for or a complete surprise. Funny or sentimental. Handmade by a loved one or brought by Santa.

The present that usually lingers is the one that brings joy long after it's been unwrapped.

We asked Rogue Valley residents to share their favorite gift memory:

"I got a science project with eggs in a bag that form into giant, unusual fish. I turned on a clip light and put foil on the top to make them grow. I didn't ask for it but Santa knew I like science."

— Harper McGrath, 6, Ashland

"When I was 8, we lived in San Francisco and my father made us hunt for our special gift, which was always the last gift we would open. I went exploring through the house and he would say, 'Look in that box,' but I finally found my special gift in the basement. It was a blue and white bicycle with big fat tires and I learned to ride it in Golden Gate Park."

— Cecile Everson, 63, Jacksonville

"My best present was a truck kit that turns into a tow truck, a pickup and a grabbing truck that has a special grabbing tool — a drill — that comes out of the top and grabs other trucks."

— William Gunter, 5, Medford

"After our fifth daughter was born, my wife gave me a Lionel train set that she bought with oatmeal box tops she had collected and about $11.95 in cash. She said, 'Being as you're not going to get a son, here's a train set.' The train was set up under the Christmas tree every year. We just gave it to our eldest grandson."

— Jack Secoy, 83, Medford

"When I was 8 years old, I wanted a doll with separate fingers. There was something about that that I liked. After Christmas, I took the doll out for a walk and fell and broke off her fingers. My sister found the fingers and glued them back on."

— Elizabeth Sherbow, 78, Medford

"The only gift that stays in my memory were roller skates I received when I was 9. In front of our house was a freshly paved sidewalk that I could ride up and down and I fell as often as the next person."

— Ted Sherbow, 89, Medford

"I really like my Spoka, a little light that glows blue and green. It makes me feel safe from scary dreams."

— Vivian Martin, 5, Ashland

"The best Christmas presents I ever received came two years apart: Santa brought us a baby. I remember taking all of our children to see Santa one year and I leaned in to whisper to him, 'Please don't bring us another baby.' I also remember as a little girl receiving roller skates and riding them in the kitchen, which sounded like a roller rink, as my mom rolled out pie dough."

— Carol Secoy, 82, Medford

"After I retired from being a professor, I became a rancher and we lived on a farm. One Christmas, I was given a border collie named Gyp. She was better than two or three ranch hands. I didn't have to train her."

— Loren Fisher, 86, Medford

"I got a bracelet that is green, white and red, and has a white polar bear on it. I like it because it makes me think about Christmas when I wear it."

— Reese Pantle, 6, Ashland

"We lived in England and when I was 11, my grandfather, who was a woodworker, made me a go-kart that I could steer with a pulley system. I would be in front and my friend would be in the back and we would push with our feet on those big wheels and go. It was the most brilliant gift."

— Jo Parker, 49, Jacksonville

"I got a biplane decoration that is sparkly blue, and a train and a jet."

— Enzo Balocca, 4, Ashland

"I found a piece of coal in my stocking when I was 7. I was told I was a bad girl that year and I cried the rest of the day. My grandparents couldn't believe that my parents had done that, but I learned my lesson."

— Barbara Elder, 81, Medford

"I got a [LeapFrog] LeapPad, like an iPad for kids. You can play games and read on it, but I don't have any books yet. I can make art and I painted a whole zoo. I like it because it gives me good ideas."

— Maia Carlson, 6, Ashland

"When I was about 5, I wanted a baby in a buggy and when I received it, I couldn't imagine how Santa knew about it. Then when I was 29, my daughter Elizabeth was born in late November and she has been my best present ever since. She is the gift that keeps on giving."

— Jane Fisher, 77, Medford

Reach reporter Janet Eastman at 541-776-4465 or by email at jeastman@mailtribune.com.

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